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Self-Discipline in the Home + Homeschool

Self-Discipline in the Home + Homeschool

Self-discipline is key to success in our endeavors and for our sanity. Particularly in the long haul of motherhood, self-discipline protects priority and peace.

Self-discipline is a habit. In fact, it is the foundation of habit formation. Whole books can and have been written on self-discipline. Here, I would like to look at self-discipline in the life of the homemaker in three areas:

  1. the heart
  2. the will
  3. the life

The Heart

We can stay stuck in our emotions when it comes to self-discipline. Sometimes there’s a lot of shame around the idea.

The Holy Spirit can use our emotions to convict us. He pricks our conscience. But there is a big difference between:

"I notice that when I scroll on my phone right after I wake up instead of praying, I’m much less patient with the kids’ needs."


"I’m always cranky with the kids in the morning, the worst mother, and I’m probably just screwing them up."

One thought is the conviction that spurs us to the right action; the other is condemnation that leads us to despair and low-level comfort-seeking.

When we spiral like this, we tend to focus more on the circumstances rather than our interior lives.

But the heart is precisely where we must begin.

Whatever your external circumstances, the Lord sees the heart. This is paramount in the life of the mother because our seasons shift often and dramatically. Self-discipline in one season will look different from self-discipline in another.

We must be more attached to Jesus than our schedules.

We must listen to His voice over self-condemnation.

We must ask Him to cast the vision for self-discipline in this season rather than the latest Reel promising to enhance our morning routine. Resources can help, but not more than the Holy Spirit.

If our goals for self-discipline are not a fruit of prayer we will likely end up defeated or self-reliant.

So before we address any other areas, we should ask the Lord for His wisdom and vision for this season of our lives.

And if we want to grow in self-discipline, let’s ask Him for help!


The Will


As we allow the Lord to transform our hearts and clarify our vision, He is going to give us opportunities to practice! After all, we grow in virtue by doing things consistently and intentionally.

Once the Holy Spirit has shown you how to grow in self-discipline this particular season, focus your energy there. We all-or-nothing types often hear the Holy Spirit’s marching order for one step forward, then go blazing into the full battlefield.

The exercise of the will is an interesting point of reflection for the stay-at-home or homeschooling mom. We have a lot of freedom. We set the schedule. We make the appointments. We discern levels of involvement. We are the CEO, the manager, the cook, and the janitor.

This freedom is so good. It is partly why homemakers have a particular duty to preserve leisure in our culture (but that’s another email for another time).

This freedom also presents unique considerations. After all, if we make the schedule and the rules, then we can say there is no schedule and there are no rules, right?

A piece of our self-discipline as homemakers is identifying the priorities of this season and being sure we steward our time and energy well.

How do we do that? Let’s look at some practical ideas.


The Life



I mentioned it above, but a significant step in self-discipline is getting very clear about your priorities.

The Lord has been teaching me about this a lot this summer. He has given me my assignment in this season. When I cease hemming and hawing about it, looking to my right and left, I have much more peace.

It is worth taking this to deep, extensive prayer. It is worth sitting down with our spouses and reviewing the priorities of the season. And it is worth structuring our lives around the assignment.


Boundaries look different for different people, personality types, needs, seasons, and vocations. But they are important!

Once we have identified our priorities, it might be necessary to put some boundaries in place to ensure those priorities are nurtured as needed.

For example, one boundary I have set this year is protecting our school time in ways I have not done in the past. Unless otherwise impossible, I am not scheduling kids’ appointments during our blocked school times. I’m not taking meetings. I place my phone on “Do Not Disturb" and put it away.

Notice that this is a boundary I’ve set for myself. No one is demanding that I have a dentist appointment at 9 a.m. or that I answer their text message immediately. But I know myself well enough to recognize this is a necessary boundary to protect the priority.


Flexibility + Fortitude

It requires self-discipline to make a plan and set boundaries, and it requires self-discipline when it all goes to pot.

As mothers, we must be flexible because there will be hiccups. Things will regularly not go according to plan. Ideals are often massacred by toddlers and teenagers.

These are further opportunities to exercise self-discipline. We get to discipline our minds. How will we respond? Will we throw up our hands in resentful surrender (I have no idea what that’s about. Never done that before.)? Or will we face pivots with fortitude, doing the best we can and giving the rest to God?



The last point I’ll make on the topic of self-discipline for mothers is that we must accept the Lord’s grace and realize that we are in a marathon.

Sometimes self-discipline looks like true self-care. Maybe it’s going to bed earlier instead of watching one more episode so you’re better rested. Maybe it’s taking a walk outside or reading a book instead of checking Facebook. Maybe it’s making time for dedicated prayer. Maybe it’s eating an actual breakfast so you’re fueled for the day.

Remember, the motive of self-discipline must not be self-hatred. We can honor God by stewarding well the bodies, souls, and minds He gave us.

We want to be able to serve Him well for as long as He has us in this field.


The Font + Fruit

In our desire and effort to grow in self-discipline, our aim is to give glory to God and to allow Him to make us saints. This is simply not possible apart from grace and the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

So once again, I entreat us all to pray. It is the font and fruit of self-discipline.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. We are all always students at the feet of the Teacher! Comment below!

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What is a Mother's Morning Basket?

What is a Mother's Morning Basket?

What is a Morning Basket?

The term "morning basket" has been tossed around in homeschool circles for a couple of decades now. It has spread like wildfire (for good reason) and is not only reserved for homeschooling families. 

Because of its increased popularity, it has become somewhat of an enigma.  Assembling a morning basket can feel overwhelming because what if I don't do it right?

I'm here to release you from that pressure... There is no singular "right" way.

When it comes to creating a morning basket for your children, the main goal is to spread a feast of truth, beauty, and goodness. 

If you're already implementing The Daily Feast, then your morning basket is already, like, 85% filled. 

Our morning basket usually consists of the elements of The Daily Feast plus some poetry and a few picture books

While you get to make the rules about your morning basket, it's helpful to have a few loose principles to build upon:

  • A morning basket incorporates beauty. This may include prayer, Scripture, hymns, Saint bios, poetry, folk songs, fairy tales, and so on.
  • You don't have to do it all every day. You can choose different books based on the needs of that day. 
  • It doesn't have to be a literal basket. You don't have to store your stuff in a basket for it to be a morning basket. Simply compile your resources in a place that is easily accessible to you and where you most often gather together.
  • It can be done at any time of the day. Don't be beholden by the term "morning"! A morning basket can be done at any time of the day. The best time to do it is when you actually do it.

What is a MOTHER'S Morning Basket?

Same idea, but for you. 

A mother's morning basket is meant to fill her soul and mind with truth, beauty, and goodness. 

For many years, my mother's morning basket has been an anchor in my day. It affords me a moment to tend to my own soul and interests so that I can be poured out for my family—not by my own power, but His.

The same loose principles of a morning basket for your kids apply to a morning basket for yourself. The focus is prayer and beauty, you don't have to "do it all" every single day, you don't have to use a literal basket, and you can do it at any time of the day*. 

Your mother's morning basket will likely shift according to seasons (both literal and metaphorical). You may be able to enjoy it before the kids wake each day or amongst their happy interruptions. 

*I prefer the morning because I desperately need communion with Him first thing. A few months ago, some friends and I discussed our desire to include a "mother's night basket" in addition to our morning baskets. I have been doing this, and it has been a peaceful way to end my days! My night basket is much more abbreviated and includes night prayer, an examen, poetry (sometimes), and a novel. Also, this is not yet as firm a habit as my morning basket because many nights I fall into bed face-down and expired.


The Elements of a Morning Basket 

So what should we include in our mother's morning baskets?! This is the fun part! Again, you make the rules. But I'm happy to offer some suggestions based on what has been particularly helpful to me over the years.

Remember, you can include any, all, or none of these. And you don't have to partake in what you include every day. This is meant to bless you, not burden you!


This isn't necessarily tangible, but it's the cornerstone of my morning basket.

Each morning, I sleepily crawl into the lap of the Father, ask the Son to "give me a drink", and voice my dependency upon the Holy Spirit. I wake up like a child.  

Additionally, many moms use this as a time to pray their rosary or other devotional prayers.

Bible/Daily Readings 

God's Word has proven to be a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. I am a beggar before the Lord, and He continuously feeds me with His Word and His Body in the Eucharist.

Reading Sacred Scripture—most often via the daily readings for Holy Mass—is the top priority of my morning basket.

When it comes to Bibles, I recommend the NRSVCE translation. I use this one. If you prefer a journaling Bible, I like this one.


I like to keep some sort of paper journal in my morning basket to jot down prayers or verses. 

Prayer Books 

Do you have a prayer book you love? Keep it tucked in your morning basket and refer to it as needed or prompted. 

For example, the Pieta prayer book is magnificent.


Is there a devotional you're praying through, particularly during Advent or Lent? Are you in the middle of a consecration? These are great additions to the morning basket! 

Spiritual Reading 

My morning basket also includes whatever spiritual book I'm currently reading. You can see some of my favorites here.


Poetry is not currently a part of my morning basket, but what a lovely way to rouse to the day! I have this collection of nature poems that I read with my kids, but my girlfriends love the daily version and the night version for themselves!


Under this category falls anything lovely but not necessarily religious.

Think food or design magazines, coffee table books, cookbooks, art collections, nature journals, homemaking resources, etc.

What lifts your heart and inspires you for the tasks you are about to undertake? What inspires you to live a life worthy of the call you have received?

Tuck these in your morning basket and take delight!

Non-Fiction Reading 

Finally, I include any non-fiction (but not spiritual) reading I'm tending to at the time. Books about homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading, health, historical figures, parenting, marriage, work, relationships, etc. fall into this category.

It bears repeating: not all of this is to be done every single day! We would likely be neglecting the duties of our vocation if we spent three hours in prayer and reading every single morning. Don't be afraid to just start! Nothing is a failure when offered to the Lord in humility, trust, and love!

Setting Time + Space 

Once you have determined when would be a great and realistic time for your morning basket, put it on your actual schedule in your actual planner. It makes a difference! 

Then, set the space. Choose where the contents of your morning basket will reside. Choose where you will sit. 

How can you make this space more conducive to prayer?

Can you drape a blanket across the chair to invite you into rest with Christ? Can you hang a crucifix, icon, or other holy image nearby so you can contemplate it during your prayer? 

Consider obtaining a candle that is just reserved for your morning basket time. I like these clean ones and these Catholic ones (use code ITD15 for 15% off).

The night before, set out a favorite mug (perhaps one from Into the Deep... perhaps this is a hint?) to fill with rejuvenating coffee or steeping tea before you begin. 

I keep these highlighters and a good pen on hand for emphasizing and taking notes.

My Current Mother's Morning Basket 

Curious about what's in my mother's morning basket right now? Here's my lineup:

You can see them all here, too.

The Final Thought 

The demands of our vocation are blessed and many, and the Lord does not ask us to do them apart from His grace. It is worthwhile to dwell with Him in the mornings. He is waiting to meet us in prayer. He longs to fill us with His love and delight, even in seasons of dryness. 

Let us, then, make a point to come to Him. Let us not rely on our own limited strength but on His endless power. 

Let us give our families the gift of a mother filled with beauty, wonder, and the Holy Spirit. 

Let us make time for what fills us up so we can be poured out another day. 

 I'm so eager to know what you think about a mother's morning basket. Totally lame? Overwhelming? Thrilling? And if you already have some version of a Mother's morning basket, I'd love to know what's included in yours! 



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Building Their Lives on the Liturgical Year

Building Their Lives on the Liturgical Year

“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.”

- Charlotte Mason 

Order is something we all strive to have in our lives. It makes the world go ‘round and helps create a sense of security throughout childhood and adulthood.

Maintaining a smooth, rhythmic schedule aids your child in more ways than you can count. Having a rhythmic home life is good for the body, but having a rhythmic liturgical life is good for the soul. 

The Faith isn't simply meant to be learned; it's meant to be lived. Things such as reading about the lives of Saints and understanding the seasons of the Church can be done during any time of day, not only during religion class. Leaning on the liturgical year provides a structure in your children's lives that can accompany them into adulthood.

How Living the Liturgical Year Now Impacts their Future as Catholics

An impactful way to help children as the next generation of Catholics is having structure built within their spiritual life. Helping your child increase attentiveness to their faith will aid them in growing long-lasting habits in their love for the Church and the Lord. 

Reading the Bible as a family, attending Mass every Sunday, and praying the rosary are great ways to have a lasting impact. A good liturgical option is to keep up with Saints’ feast days. There is a feast every day and there are multiple ways to celebrate. Reading a summary and then praying to the Saints daily is a fun and mindful way to keep up with the liturgical year.

Another great option is considering a liturgical planner for your child. A planner is used to organize the day to day events. Your child can not only keep track of the upcoming week, but also see different religious feast days and holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. 

A Structure for Worship

The Catholic liturgical year organizes the Church's celebrations and events, providing a structure for worship and reflection. Having a religious structure encourages orderliness in the soul. Order is physical as well as mental. Following the ebb and flow of fasting and feasting within the liturgical year is a physical reminder of the liturgical year. 

For example, let's say that, at the beginning of the week, you fill out your planner. You include things like events, birthdays, work schedule, weekend plans, etc. A liturgical planner works the same way as a normal planner, but it has Catholicism filtered into its pages. What a fun way to help your child grow in their faith! 

Continuous Contemplation

Living the liturgical year allows us to remember the life and teachings of Jesus and to deepen faith through various liturgical seasons and feasts. Remembering the Saints that have lived out the faith serves as an inspiration for Catholics. Contemplating the faith daily helps with spiritual growth. 

Catholic Connection

The liturgical year helps to create a sense of unity and community among Catholics worldwide. Community is something we as humans need. We usually look for people that we can relate to, sympathize with, similar beliefs, etc. Connecting with other Catholics over your love of the Faith is amazing! 

Check Out our Student Planner! 

What’s a fun, immersive way to help your child grow in the faith? Consider purchasing our newest product, the Student Liturgical Planner! This is a great option to encourage orderliness and structure in your child's school and home life.

Keeping track of events such as sports practices, play-dates, to-do list on chore day can all be done in this planner. Throw in the liturgical year filtered into the calendar and you have the perfectly-curated Catholic Student Planner. 

What are some of your favorite ways to build your child's life on the liturgical year? Give us some ideas in the comments below!

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Cultivating the Virtue of Order in Our Homes

Cultivating the Virtue of Order in Our Homes

Every mom out there is familiar with occasional chaos. It is inevitable in life, and you can’t just stop life from happening. You can, however, make small but life-altering changes that will have a positive impact on you and your children.

The Virtue of Order

Order is a virtue that we can practice and help our kids practice now, both for the benefit of our homes and for their benefit as adults. 

"When you keep your life in order, your time will multiply, and therefore you will be able to give greater glory to God, working more eagerly in his service.” -Saint Josemaria Escriva 

Ordering our external environments aids in ordering the internal environment of our souls and minds. An underlying virtue in the exercise of order is discipline. Establishing order is one thing, but maintaining order requires self-discipline so that order remains once the motivation wanes. If you have a prayer life, then you understand well the importance of discipline!

How to Help Children Cultivate the Virtue of Order 
  1. Establish a routine and stick to it (morning routines, school routines, bedtime routines, etc). Having a routine mapped out for the week makes everything run smoother, from naps to snacks to school. Having a structured life will aid your child in basically everything. Weekends can be a bit looser, of course, but children thrive on dependable structure. 
  2. Provide a designated area for clothes, toys, etc. This can be encouraged from a young age. Make sure to always have these areas tidy and clean and once your child is old enough, make sure they keep it clean as well. 
  3. Use visual aids such as charts and planners. Most children are visual learners; this is an easy and fun way to inspire cleanliness and organization in your child. These are habits they will need forever!
  4. Encourage the child to clean up and put away items after use. This lifelong skill can be taught from a young age. When they are little, help them clean and make a game out of it. They can even learn the “clean up song”, which is a fun and easy reminder to clean up after yourself. 
  5. Model good organizational habits yourself. The best way to encourage good habits in your children is to practice those same habits yourself. Practicing all of the cleanliness habits you want your child to have is a great way to encourage them, they will see you do it and naturally, they will follow suit. 

Order is something that we all wish to achieve, but we can view it as more of a dream than a reality. By practicing simple cleanliness as a family, you are nurturing a lifelong habit they they will continue to utilize in adulthood and in the workplace, as well as their personal life.

Just as you take your child to Mass for a well-ordered soul, they must learn to keep their space clean for a well-ordered existence. 

“Preserve order, and order will preserve you.” - Saint Bernard
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Help! My Kids are Bored at Mass!

Help! My Kids are Bored at Mass!

Bringing kids to Mass is often a sacrifice of praise in and of itself. Even when tantrums and bathroom breaks are avoided, there's the threat of "boredom."

Children have a relatively short attention span as it is, but when they’re bored… Prepare for the whispering, “Are we almost done?”  to repeat steadily until the end of Mass.

This is natural and understandable. It also offers us an opportunity to train their attention, patience, and understanding of the importance of being at Mass (even when we're bored).

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Reclaiming the Sabbath as a Family

Reclaiming the Sabbath as a Family
It's the third commandment—the final one pertaining to our love of God. Keeping holy the sabbath is doable when it comes to getting to Mass on Sundays. But the rest that God commands on the sabbath for our benefit? Not so easy to attain, especially in family life. Continue reading

What We Use for First Communion Prep

What We Use for First Communion Prep
Preparing for First Communion is a beautiful experience for children and parents alike. Many children will receive their first Communions this spring and early summer, so naturally, preparation is on our minds. We want them to have a memorable encounter with the Eucharist. We want to do our part—inasmuch as we can—to prepare them for this intimacy with Jesus. Continue reading

Memorizing Scripture with Your Kids (Why + Where to Start)

Memorizing Scripture with Your Kids (Why + Where to Start)
Just as we sit around the campfire and tell stories we have heard and memorized, we can do the same with Scripture! Just as one would recite a poem or story aloud, we should be able to recite God's Word. We memorize the multiplication tables, simple addition problems, and the metrics system. Wouldn't it make sense then, as Catholics, to include Scripture memorization with the other things we encourage our children to commit to memory?  Continue reading

When the Baby *is* the Catechesis

When the Baby *is* the Catechesis
In these moments I am tempted toward frustration or discouragement, the needs I believe bumping up against the needs I perceive. Babies (and toddlers) are a blessing that bring with them enormous joy... and interruption. If you have older children in the home, these interruptions can seem to be an obstacle to your efforts to teach and instruct the older child(ren). Continue reading